New Delhi: Over 60% of 1.5 crore electorate on Saturday exercised their franchise in a keenly fought Delhi Assembly elections which saw stray incidents of violence but remained by and large peaceful.
Initial estimates showed that about 60% of the electorate cast their vote in 69 out of the 70 constituencies which witnessed a tough battle between the ruling Congress and opposition BJP for power in the national capital.
Chief electoral officer Satbir Sailas Bedi said the elections were peaceful though there were four incidents of minor violence during the polling which began at 8 a.m. amid 52,000 police personnel keeping a tight vigil.
Four BSP workers were injured in clashes in Okhla area while two persons were arrested in Mehrauli for trespassing into polling booths unauthorisedly, an election official said.
Preliminary information suggests that the highest and lowest turnouts were in two constituencies of south-west Delhi with 63% and 55% respectively.
There was a quantum jump in the polling percentage this year compared to that of 53.4% in 2003 and 49% in 1998. In 1993 when Delhi faced the first elections, the polling percentage was 61.8%.
Elections are being held in 69 out of the 70 Assembly constituencies while polling for the remaining one will be held on 13 December. The polling for the Rajendra Nagar seat was rescheduled after BJP candidate Puran Chand Yogi allegedly committed suicide in the midst of campaigning.
The stakes were high for Sheila Dikshit, chief minister for the past ten years, who faced voters on development while BJP, led by its chief ministerial candidate V K Malhotra, was hoping to cash in on anti- incumbency and BSP’s ‘spoiler effect’ on the Congress.